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  • Taking A Mature Driver Course

    Taking A Mature Driver Course

    Aging is a fact of life and as mature driver you have to deal with the affects aging has on your driving. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to give up your license. In fact, if you are willing to take a mature driver's course you might just hold on to your license for years to come.

    A mature driver's safety course can update your knowledge of the current driving environment. You will learn specifics about how age affects your driving, and most importantly, you will learn ways to avoid crashes. An extra bonus―once you've completed a mature driver course, your insurance company may even offer you a safe driver discount.

    Topics Covered in a Mature Driver's Course

    There are many different driver improvement courses to choose from. Some states have an official approval process for driver courses and some states even teach the classes in-house. But you, a mature driver, have unique needs and should seek out a driver improvement course geared to you.

    Basic Traffic Rules

    In a carefully designed mature driver's course you will relearn basic traffic rules. It has probably been a long time since you read a drivers manual so a review of road signs, signals, and markings is important for keeping current.

    Driver Fitness and Aging

    Perhaps even more important is how your physical and emotional fitness impacts your driving. Aging can change your senses, and as the main interface between you and your environment, aging senses can be dangerous. In your mature driver's course, you will learn how to compensate for hearing loss, vision changes, and even slower reaction times.

    Once you appreciate your limitations, practice newly learned techniques like scanning and safety cushions. Scanning may seem difficult at first, but your mature driver's course can teach you how to make it a habit; you will quickly catch on.

    Slower reaction time is normal for aging drivers. Learn to use safety cushions―like buffer―to put distance between you and other drivers. You will learn to avoid crashes.

    Knowing when to turn over the car keys is a touchy topic, and it is only natural for some to deny bad driving skills. The mature driver's course will discuss some warning signs that you can watch for―when you recognize the signals in yourself or a loved one, it is time to think about giving up the wheel.

    Driving in Traffic

    Congestion from traffic has increased through the years; although you may pine for simpler days when the roads were inviting and wide open, the reality exists on every bumper-to-bumper highway. Commutes and school schedules can jam up the morning and afternoon roadways.

    Part of your mature driver's course will focus on highway driving, exiting, lane changes, and maneuvering around big trucks. Of course, if driving in traffic makes you nervous, just don't do it. Read up on safety suggestions that deal with heavy traffic; try asking someone else to drive, or schedule your day around the rush hour.

    Sharing the Road

    Patience and defensive driving will help you to deal with other vehicles on the road. During your course you will really appreciate learning about aggressive drivers, tractor-trailers, motorcycles, and driver distraction because you need to drive alongside, not into, these other motorists.

    When you are in the midst of an urgent driving situation it may be hard to remember exactly what your instructor said about aggressive drivers; ask for tips on how to recall your lessons when you are in the middle of a stressful driving situation.

    Safety Equipment

    Many of us remember the days when our cars didn't' even have seat belts, never mind air bags and other personal safety devices. Fortunately, injury and fatality rates are improved because of engineering and technology.

    Your instructor won't be able to review every vehicle model and make, but in general, there are safety features common to most cars. You will learn how to use your car's safety equipment, like anti-lock brakes, to help prevent crashes.

    Finding a Mature Driver's Course

    Once you decide to take a course because you want to improve your driver safety or reduce your insurance premiums you'll need to decide what class to take, where to take it, and how much you can spend.

    Individual lessons can be costly because you'll be paying by the hour. However, if you want just a few hours of intense personal instruction look around for a rehabilitation specialist or public driving school. After all, you are probably willing to invest quite a lot in your safety.

    Classroom courses are offered for mature drivers, as well as other driver improvement and education topics. Make sure you sign up for a course that covers issues for mature drivers. If you are like most people who have been out of school for a while, the thought of sitting behind a desk for hours makes you uncomfortable.

    Your mature driver course should be able to cover most of the material in four to eight hours. To avoid losing interest or the feeling in your legs from sitting too long, look for a course with two or four hour blocks. And remember to learn from your peers while attending class―sharing your driving concerns is a huge advantage of the traditional classroom format.

    In rural areas the mature driver's course may be offered far from your home. Look on the bright side―the time you spend commuting to the course is time you can spend practicing what you've learned. On the other hand, between expensive fuel and personal commitments, you may want to find a course closer to home.

    You can't get any closer to home than with an online course or software program. Many mature drivers prefer the computer courses because the learning pace is determined by you. And, when sitting at your computer you can repeat sections over and over until you commit the information to memory.

    So what does it all cost? Believe it or not, you may spend more for a computer course than you would for a mature driver's classroom course. But the two options are not really equal. Online courses can cover a tremendous amount of material and sometimes offer around-the-clock question and answer services.

    Your learning style will help you choose a mature driver's course. If you are really committed to keeping your license, make the best of both worlds―take computer courses and traditional classes.

    The reasons for taking a mature driver's course are compelling. When you are considering giving up your license you are really contemplating some serious life changes. Before taking that step, unless you have strong reasons for giving up your license, take a chance on mature driver's improvement classes. The hardest part is the beginning; once you commit to improving your driving, find an appropriate course, and put in your time, you will look back and wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

    Resources and Further Reading

    To find a mature driver course in your area, search retirement associations online, or inquire at your local adult community center or community colleges.

    The Division of Motor Vehicles in your state can also help you locate a state-approved mature driver's improvement course.